It all almost went to plan with the top four men all making the semifinals of this week's tournament in Rome.
That is, until Richard Gasquet threw a wrench in the plans by knocking off Andy Murray in the round of 16.
Gasquet, in turn, had a wrench thrown in his plans by the indefatigable (come on, how many times do you see that word in a blog post?) David Ferrer.
Now Ferrer has to take on Rafael Nadal, while Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer square off. It's a great effort by Ferrer, but you have to feel his run is going to come to an end against Nadal. Provided he does knock off Rafa, would he have enough game in him to win the finals?
And there you would have it: Another major tournament won by a member of the "Big 4."
It's tough out there for the guys. I'd been thinking over the past couple of days that there are only two solid chances for guys such as Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tomas Berdych to get far in a big tournament: If they're in Murray's part of the draw on clay or Nadal's on a hard court.
Of course, there's been some exceptions—even this year with John Isner at Indian Wells and Berdych breaking out in Madrid. But I also feel those are fluke events.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that guys outside the Big 4 are vying for semifinal spots and seeing what happens from there. Ferrer's the latest and he's indefatigable (I just wrote that to write it) enough where you hope he gets an even bigger breakthrough.
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.